“You never know how strong you are until being strong is the only choice you have.” “Keep your head up God gives His hardest battles to His strongest soldiers.”
We have all heard inspirational sayings at one time or another. They are meant to encourage and uplift. However, sometimes they are used as if they are sound biblical advice.
One saying in particular has caused me more confusion than any other. It is, “God won’t give you more than you can handle.” That one statement in particular has left me feeling like I have somehow failed as a Christian.
I have watched friends and family struggle with very difficult life situations. Personally, I have gone through valleys so deep that I wondered if I would ever smile or laugh again. During some of those times, well meaning believers have said to me, “God won’t give you more than you can handle.”
I have thought long and hard about this and I don’t agree with that statement at all.
Life is hard! It can be brutal, confusing and unfair. Parents lose children. Children lose parents. Divorce, drugs, infidelity, job loss and illness permeate our society.
The Bible tells us in John 10:10 (NIV), The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.
God knows how hard this life is. This life is more than we can handle. We live in a world full of sin where satan seeks those he can destroy.
1 Peter 5:8-9 (NIV), says, Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that the family of believers throughout the world is undergoing the same kind of sufferings.
In 1 Peter 4:12 (NIV), it tells us, Dear friends, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal that has come on you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you.
Over and over again we are told not to be surprised at the ordeals that come to test us. We are told the thief comes to steal and destroy. Trials are going to come. But it isn’t because God won’t give us more than we can handle. It is because this is not our home. This life is but a brief and momentary vapor and we are not designed to handle it on our own. We need Christ and his unfailing love and gift of salvation to get through the trials.
What happens when the overwhelming and the insurmountable occur? What do we do and what do we say to those who are hurting or who have suffered great loss?
Matthew 11:28- 30 (NIV) says, “Come to me all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light. “
God wants us to come to Him. It doesn’t mean our current circumstances will change. However, our hearts can. In Christ we find healing. By leaning on Him we find rest and peace. Our relationship with Him is what changes the hopeless to hopeful.
Romans 12:12 (NIV) says, Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. Now that is truth that encourages.